Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express
The Chase Freedom Unlimited competes well against the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, especially during its first year with boosted rewards rates.
Although the Blue Cash Preferred has the edge on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, for U.S. streaming subscriptions and at U.S. gas stations, the Freedom Unlimited card wins in the categories of dining and drugstore purchases. If you mainly buy groceries instead of dining out, you might want to lean on the Blue Cash Preferred card’s favorable 6 percent cash back rate for purchases at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1 percent). The Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5 percent cash back rate falls short in this category.
The biggest drawback on the Blue Cash Preferred card is its $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year). If you spend modestly with your credit card, you could struggle to offset any annual fee with cash back earnings. However, Blue Cash Preferred cardholders can easily offset the fee if they take advantage of premium perks, like the Disney Bundle streaming credit valued at $84, among others.
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Citi® Double Cash Card
If you don’t want to worry about weighing your spending in tiered categories, a flat-rate cash back card may be the solution. The Citi Double Cash card comes with no annual fee and offers 2 percent cash back on all purchases (1 percent as you buy, 1 percent when you pay for your purchase). This earning method is handy if you don’t want to worry about making the most of certain categories, find that you spend an even amount in several categories or make large purchases that aren’t included in any specific category.
Although earning 2 percent back on every purchase is simple and convenient, a card with boosted cash back rates in tiered categories can be more appealing to anyone who wants to earn the highest amount of rewards each year. That said, a 2 percent card like the Citi Double Cash can be a great complement to a card like the Freedom Unlimited, if used strategically.
Best cards to pair with the Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited will pair nicely with any number of rewards credit cards. You can maximize the amount of rewards you earn by adding a cash back card to your wallet that offers bonus rewards in areas the Freedom Unlimited doesn’t cover. For example, consider pairing the Freedom Unlimited with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express if you’d like to earn a higher rate of cash back on purchases made at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and at U.S.-based online retailers.
Travelers may want to consider pairing this card with another premier Chase credit card — particularly the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred. You can pool all your points in one Chase Ultimate Rewards account for maximum redemption value and can even pool points with a spouse or partner who lives at the same address, as well as with any Chase business credit card accounts you might have.
Pairing with the Reserve or Preferred also gives you the option of transferring points to popular Chase airline and hotel partners like Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards.
As a reminder, if you have both the Freedom Unlimited and Reserve, you can enjoy extra value when you redeem points for travel through the Chase portal (with the Reserve offering a 50 percent higher point value when you redeem this way — the Preferred offers a 25 percent boost).